Categories : NATURAL REMEDIES
Mycotherapy is an ancient medical knowledge, already 4,000 years ago it was practiced by Traditional Chinese Medicine, today it is rediscovered as a new method of treatment supported by scientific research.
In our days, where there are drugs for every disease, medicinal mushrooms remain powerful natural remedies whose efficacy is undisputed, so much so that in recent years they have been the subject of many scientific studies that testify to their great effectiveness.
The prejudice towards fungi it is completely absent in Eastern culture. Anyone who has eaten in a Chinese restaurant knows that mushrooms are an integral part of Chinese cuisine. Mushroom picking is also a popular pastime in the Chinese countryside. In the oldest Chinese Materia Medica ("Herbal Classic" - Shen Nong Ben Cao) several mushrooms are described, confirming the fact that their use dates back to ancient China.
Many speculations are possible in this sense, but the main reasons are probably the following:
›in China a real distinction has never been made between folk medicine and allopathic medicine . The authors of the various "Materie Medica" also always included popular medicine because there were experiences that such an approach was able to prevent and treat diseases. In the West, on the other hand, folk medicine has been defined as "out of time" and anachronistic and has never been taken into consideration in western conventional medical subjects.
›Eastern Buddhists and monks contributed to the transfer of knowledge between them for most of Chinese and Japanese history. Traveling from monastery to monastery they also transferred their knowledge and information about medicinal mushrooms.
›Taoist monks used medicinal mushrooms in their rituals with the aim of healing.
›Some aspects of ancient Chinese religions, including the arts of healing, are preserved in Taoism. For this reason, the Chinese have never lost connection with the past and with the methods of use of medicinal mushrooms by the ancients.
›The legendary Chinese bureaucracy has allowed the circulation of information on medicinal mushrooms . In most dynasties there was a medical officer responsible for the distribution and compliance with health ordinances. The provinces had their medical officers who transferred the information to each other.
The system of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) represents a medical language completely different from the western one. TCM is said to attempt to frame the organism as a dynamic ecosystem in balance with nature. Where a Western doctor studies a symptom to diagnose a disease, a traditional Chinese doctor looks at the symptoms as a shift in the balance of the system. Western medicine is concerned with isolating the disease or symptom in order to treat them. TCM instead seeks the origin of the imbalance and then goes to fight the cause and not the symptom. TCM uses various techniques to rebalance the body including nutrition and herbal medicine. In Chinese herbal medicine, plants or combinations of plants, but also mushrooms, are used to restore the balance of the organism. The medical literature reports more than 25,000 formulas (combinations of remedies) that can be used.
Mushrooms have been used in TCM for millennia, both as nutrition and as herbal medicine, for the maintenance of well-being and to increase longevity; in the thinking of the Chinese tradition, mushrooms play an essential role in cleansing the liver and kidneys and for this reason they are an integral part of daily nutrition. TCM recognizes various types of medicinal mushrooms and places them in therapy as natural correspondences to various pathologies / organs.
The first news on the use of mushrooms in TCM dates back to the Shen Nong Ben Cao (Divine Farmer's Materia Medica) treatise written in 250 BC (although the legend dates back to the 28th century BC).
In Shen Nong Ben Cao medicinal plants are divided into 3 classes, the most important of which contains plants with the body's toning action, those substances that we now call adaptogens, which strengthen the constitution rather than treat a symptom or an illness.
Shen Nong Ben Cao reports: “... the upper class includes 120 herbs. They are the herbs of the emperor. They control the maintenance of life ... they are not toxic. Taking large quantities for long periods of time is also not harmful. If one wants to tone Qi and extend life without aging, one must take the herbs belonging to this class ... "The upper class of remedies therefore includes tonics, which are those substances that in the West have been classified as" adaptogens "in the 1958 by Brekhman and Dardymod, two Russian holistic doctors.
The TCM tonic is a substance that confers strength, vigor and longevity and belongs to the category of "fu zheng" remedies, which literally has the meaning of "supporting the normal ", That is to restore homeostasis.
The adaptive according to the current conception is that" substance with non-specific normalizing action and independent of the pathological state, which facilitates the physiological processes necessary to adapt more quickly to stressful situations (physical and psychic), thus helping the organism to withstand abnormal physical and psychic load conditions. "
These are therefore remedies with a regulatory action does not specify that they act by restoring homeostasis without conferring further stress on the body.
Among the remedies belonging to this class are: REISHI, CORDYCEPS MAITAKE, SHIITAKE
From a nutritional point of view, mushrooms are natural sources of protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals, while they are low in calories, carbohydrates , fat and sodium; they are also cholesterol-free. They are considered suitable foods for vegetarians / vegans because they contain all the essential amino acids. They contain essential fatty acids, such as oleic, linoleic and palmitic acid, ergosterol (an important sterol to reduce the absorption of cholesterol), numerous minerals (mainly magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, copper, iron and zinc) and various vitamins. Among the vitamins, riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), folate (B9), traces of B12, vitamin C, vitamin E and vitamin D stand out. As for vitamin D, mushrooms are the only vegetable source, together algae, to provide good amounts of Vitamin D2, as they are rich in ergosterol. A necessary condition, they must be exposed to the sun, and therefore grow in contact with UV-B rays, to be able to produce it, a condition that Terranova maintains in the production of mushrooms. We also find, inside the mushrooms, many fibers that are extremely useful for nourishing the intestinal flora, that is, they act as prebiotics. Mushrooms also have numerous bioactive compounds, which have shown, in various scientific studies, to have therapeutic actions. These classes of compounds can be divided into three large groups: secondary metabolites (acids, terpenoids, polyphenols, sesquiterpenes, alkaloids, lactones, sterols, metal chelating agents, nucleotide analogues and vitamins), glycoproteins and beta-glucans. Finally, we find some proteins considered new potential therapeutic agents such as lectins. Among the listed compounds, Beta-glucans have been shown to have immunomodulating action and therefore be useful for enhancing the host's immune defense barriers against microbial infections, and are considered the class of compounds of greatest interest for medicinal mushrooms. Mushrooms have always been considered special foods, which were even consumed in the time of the Greeks and Romans, who considered them "Food of the Gods". The studies made on their nutritional composition enhances their use as foods rich in nutrients necessary for the well-being of the body. The great advantage of using Terranova mushrooms is linked to the process used by the company to obtain the extract which we then find in the supplement, freeze-drying. Through the freeze drying / freeze drying, the myco-complex is fully maintained, as this technique involves the complete dehydration of the fungus with the preservation of all the substances originally present, which therefore we find inside the product. This is the big difference of the Terranova mushroom line compared to other mushroom supplements on the market. Normally, mycotherapeutic supplements are supplied as titrated dry extracts, and titration is almost always carried out on Beta-glucans. The extraction process is completely different from the cryo-drying process, because this process involves the use of a solvent that extracts the active ingredients, and not dehydration by freezing. Solvent extraction reduces the number of nutrients present in the final extract, and therefore significantly reduces the biological and nutritional value of the product, which we have observed to be very high. Using a supplement from the Terranova mycotherapy line means taking a real food, and taking full advantage of all the nutritional properties of the mushrooms. (1)
(1) Edible Mushrooms: Improving Human Health and Promoting Quality Life María Elena Valverde, Talía Hernández-Pérez